Visitors undeterred by shutdown in Smokies; TN State Parks host New Year's hikes
The federal government shutdown is not visibly slowing down visitation in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Tourists continued to pack the trails and visitor centers throughout the day on New Year's Eve. Many hikers told 10News they were either unaware or unconcerned about the partial shutdown and the reduced staffing in the park.
"This is our first trip to the Smokies, so we don't know any different as far as staffing. But we haven't seen Park Rangers now that you mention it," said Shawn Hunt of Gainesville, Florida. "It has been packed. We went to Laurel Falls yesterday and there were so many cars you had to hike half a mile just to get to the trail."
Shawn and Chloe Hunt hiked Monday on the trails near Elkmont and admitted they were blissfully unaware of the many impacts the shutdown had on the national park.
"We didn't even think about it. We were just worried about how we were going to get to this trail and how long it's going to take because Gatlinburg is packed full of people right now," said Hunt. "We're just having fun and burning off some pancakes we had this morning by hiking."
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